Chinese philosophy and science of war has produced many classic works, including the essay The Thirty Six Strategies. This essay was highly influential in both China, and later Japan where many of the strategies were incorporated into the Samurai Bushido.

The Thirty-six Strategies have been utilized in war, politics, and espionage since they were first published during China’s warring states period. These strategies are not bound by the traditional Confucian concept of honor, and may be seen as ruthless. Their effect is certainly devastating when properly employed.

Strategy 1- Sneak Across the Ocean in Broad Daylight

This means to mask your true goals with fake goals that everyone can see. When your enemy thinks he understands what you are trying to do, you can carry out your real plans in plain sight and still surprise him.

The strategy comes from an episode in Chinese history where an emperor was afraid of crossing the sea. On a calm day, his general invited him to meet with a wise man. They traveled through a tunnel and met the wise man, and then feasted for several days. On the third day the emperor heard the sound of waves. When he started to question the sound, the general pulled open heavy curtains to reveal that they had been on a ship the whole time. The journey was already over.

You can apply this strategy in your Jiu-Jitsu by making your opponent think you are going for one thing while you set up something else. A good example would be this technique from Abmar Barbosa, where he makes his opponent believe that he is going for a traditional scissors sweep. When his opponent reacts to defend the scissors sweep, he finds out too late that Abmar was going for a triangle all along. A perfect example of “Sneak Across the Ocean in Broad Daylight”.

Bill Thomas